After being knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage, Atletico Madrid will now have to prepare for the Europa League, beginning in February; a change that will affect the club’s sporting and economic areas.
However, it’s a competition that has given great joy to both the players and the rojiblanco supporters, in 2009/10 and 2011/12.
The Champions League is always special and the squad know it, that’s why many of them are hurt.
Their strongest rivals and those that have the most impact are those the ones who play in European football’s premier club competition, but there are still the likes of Milan and Arsenal to overcome in the Europa League.
We must bear in mind that by the time Atletico play in the competition, they will be able to count on Diego Costa and Vitolo.
The two new signings will not play the Champions League, but they have the opportunity to continue in Europe.
Minor rewards in the Europa League
It’s certainly a blow economically for the club too, as the rewards are far less than those available in the Champions League.
If Atleti had qualified for the Round of 16, the prize would’ve been six million euros. In the Europa League, that is reduced to 750,000 euros.
A quarterfinal berth means a payment of 1m euros in the secondary competition compared to €6.5m in the Champions League, rising to €7.5m for a semifinal place or just €1.6m should the Rojiblancos make it to the last four of the Europa League.
The disparity is wider if Atleti were to go all the way to the final; €3.5m euros for the runner-up (€6.5m for the winner) in the Europa League, or €11m to the Champions League runner up and €15.5m to the winner.
The economic rewards for progress in the two competitions makes the difference between a finalist in one competition or the other around €20m.